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Tony La Russa Bobby Cox, Joe Torre all unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL — For the first time in a long time we have living, breathing inductees for the Hall of Fame. The Veteran’s Committee has elected Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre. They will be inducted next summer in Cooperstown.

La Russa – unanimously elected by the sixteen member Veteran’s Committee — ranks third all-time in wins among managers, having compiled a 2,728-2,365 record in 33 seasons. He won three World Series: in 1989 with the Oakland Athletics and 2006 and 2011 with the St. Louis Cardinals. He won six pennants overall, three each with Oakland and St. Louis and spent eight years managing the Chicago White Sox as well.

Cox — also voted in unanimously — is right on La Russa’s historic heels, ranking fourth all-time in wins among managers, compiling a 2,504-2,001 record in 29 seasons with the Braves and Blue Jays. A World Series winner in 1995, he won five National League pennants in 25 years with the Braves and won a lot of games in four years as Toronto’s manager.  His signature accomplishment, however, is one of year-in-year-out excellence, leading the Braves to 14 division titles between 1991 and 2005.

Joe Torre was also unanimously elected. His Hall of Fame resume comes from both his playing and his managing exploits. The National League MVP in 1971, Torre was one of the more underrated players from the sixties and seventies. Of course he wouldn’t be entering Cooperstown if it weren’t for his years as a manager, in which he won four World Series titles and six pennants — all with the Yankees — in 29 seasons. Overall he was 2,326-1,997 record managing the Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Yankees and Dodgers.

Left on the outside looking in: Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Billy Martin, Marvin Miller, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry, Ted Simmons and George Steinbrenner, none of whom mustered more than six of the twelve votes required for induction.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.

Spring training will be slightly shortened in 2018

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 15:  General view of action between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants during the spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 15, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The A's defeated the Giants 8-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.

Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.

The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.

While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.